General Election 2024 latest: Sir Keir Starmer vows to 'deliver for Scotland' as he kicks off UK tour

General Election 2024 latest: Sir Keir Starmer vows to 'deliver for Scotland' as he kicks off UK tour

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has promised to “deliver for Scotland” on a visit to Edinburgh.

He said the days of division were over and that he would work to improve services north of the border.

Starmer said: “I can’t tell you how important it is to be here in Scotland. That was an historic election result and mandate for change.

“We say thank you to every single person in Scotland who has voted Labour... we will serve every person in Scotland.”

In a flurry of calls the new Prime Minister has also been talking to world leaders.

He stressed the "urgent need for a ceasefire" in his first telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The call centred on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the worsening humanitarian situation in the region.

Mr Starmer emphasised his government's commitment to finding a peaceful resolution, while also discussing the importance of securing the release of hostages and increasing aid to Gaza.

A Downing Street spokesperson described the exchange as "frank and constructive".

Mr Starmer is also travelling to Edinburgh today to discuss ways of improving the working relationshipwith the Scottish Government.

The new Prime Minister said Scotland would be his first stop in a tour of the UK nations, and he would meet First Minister John Swinney.

On Tuesday he will meet with mayors from across the country, before jetting off to Washington DC for a summit marking the 75th anniversary of Nato.

The Standard is bringing you all the major developments on Sir Keir’s first weekend as PM...

Starmer: 'Work underway to build bridges with Europe

18:29 , John Dunne

Sir Keir Starmer said work has already begun to build closer ties with the European Union following Labour’s landslide election win.

The Prime Minister said he wanted better trading and security relationships with Brussels as he vowed to rip up the “botched” deal struck by Boris Johnson.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy has already travelled to Europe for talks with key players, with a promise that the UK would be a “good neighbour” after the years of Brexit acrimony.

Speaking to reporters in Edinburgh, Sir Keir said: “We intend to improve our relationship with the EU and that means closer trading ties with the EU, it means closer ties in relation to research and development and closer ties in relation to defence and security.

“Obviously, there are many discussions to be had and negotiations to be had.

“But I do think that we can get a much better deal than the botched deal that Boris Johnson saddled the UK with.”

Home secretary announces new UK Border Security command to tackle small boat crisis

18:08 , John Dunne

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has set out the first steps to establishing a new UK Border Security Command to tackle the people-smuggling gangs bringing migrants across the Channel in small boats.

Recruitment of a border security commander, who will report directly to the Home Secretary, will begin on Monday, with the new recruit expected to take up their post in the coming weeks, the Home Office said.

The commander will be a “leader used to working in complex and challenging environments, for example at senior levels of policing, intelligence or the military” who will provide strategic direction to work across agencies, drawing together the work of the National Crime Agency, intelligence agencies, police, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force, to protect the country’s borders and go after the smuggling gangs facilitating small boat crossings, the department added.

Defence secretary announces new package of support for Ukraine

18:00 , John Dunne

Defence Secretary John Healey has said the UK will provide a new package of support to Ukraine, including more artillery guns and nearly 100 Brimstone missiles.

The Ministry of Defence said Mr Healey has also directed officials to ensure military support committed for Ukraine in April by the last government should be delivered in full within the next 100 days.

Mr Healey, who visited Odesa, said: “As the new Defence Secretary, I will ensure that we reinvigorate Britain’s support by stepping up supplies of vital military aid.

“Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes.

“This Government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes.”

Starmer arrives in Edinburgh promising "we will deliver for Scotland"

17:06 , John Dunne

Keir Starmer has appeared in Edinburgh congratulating the country’s 37 new Labour MPs and promising to “deliver for Scotland”.

The Prime Minister said: “I can’t tell you how important it is to be here in Scotland. That was an historic election result and mandate for change.

“We say thank you to every single person in Scotland who has voted Labour... we will serve every person in Scotland,

The leader of Labour in Scotland alongside him said the party would fight for “hard work and humility ... hard work for change.”

Casement Park in Belfast 'will be built' NI secretary Hilary Benn says

16:52 , John Dunne

Casement Park in Belfast will be built “one way or another”, new Northern Ireland Secretary Hilary Benn has pledged.

However, Mr Benn said it was not clear if the long-delayed redevelopment of the GAA stadium could be completed in time to host matches at the 2028 European Football Championships.

On his first visit to Northern Ireland since his appointment in Sir Keir Starmer’s Cabinet, Mr Benn said Casement Park was “probably the most urgent issue” on his desk.

There has been mounting speculation that the stadium is set to be axed as a venue for the Euros 2028.

The derelict west Belfast ground has been earmarked to play host to five matches in the showpiece tournament being hosted in the UK and Ireland.

However, the funding required to build the stadium in time for the tournament is still not in place, prompting concerns that the delays will see Belfast missing out on the tournament.

David Lammy meets Polish counterpart

15:21 , Will Mata

Britain's new Foreign Secretary David Lammy held talks with his Polish counterpart on Sunday as part of his first international trip seeking to tighten British relations with the European Union and stress support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Lammy said he was visiting Britain's "key partners" in Europe — Poland, Germany and Sweden, all NATO members — for cooperation and security talks.

He said that Britain's military, economic, political and diplomatic support for Ukraine will remain unwavering, while it wants a "reset" with Europe in the areas of climate protection, energy and migration.

David Lammy (PA Wire)
David Lammy (PA Wire)

More calls with foreign leaders

14:36 , Will Mata

Sir Keir Starmer has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He told president Abbas that recognition of Palestine as part of the peace process was the "undeniable right of Palestinians".

In a readout of the call with Mr Netanyahu, Downing Street said: "The leaders discussed the importance of regional security in the Middle East, and the Prime Minister said he was committed to continuing the UK and Israel's vital co-operation to deter malign threats. The Prime Minister said the situation on the northern border of Israel was very concerning, and it was crucial all parties acted with caution.

Sir Keir Starmer has had a busy time on the phone and has also spoken to South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa and United Arab Emirates' president Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA)

'Reform could work with Green party' says Tice

14:30 , Will Mata

Starmer holds discussions with Palestinian President on Gaza conflict

13:57 , Sami Quadri

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has held discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, focusing on immediate priorities for the Gaza conflict.

During their Sunday meeting, Starmer said his goals were securing a ceasefire, ensuring the safe return of hostages and increasing humanitarian aid to the region.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister updated President Abbas on his immediate priorities, including securing a ceasefire, the return of hostages, an increase and acceleration in humanitarian aid, and financial support for the Palestinian Authority."

They added: "Discussing the importance of reform, and ensuring international legitimacy for Palestine, the Prime Minister said that his longstanding policy on recognition to contribute to a peace process had not changed, and it was the undeniable right of Palestinians."

Over in France...

12:51 , Will Mata

French President Emmanuel Macron voted in high-stakes legislative elections Sunday that could force him to share power with the rising far right.

Macron called the surprise vote after the anti-immigration, nationalist National Rally made huge gains in the June 9 European elections, taking a huge gamble that French voters would block the far-right party as they always have in the past.

But the National Rally instead won a larger share than ever in the first round on June 30, and its leader Marine Le Pen called on voters to give the party an absolute majority in Round 2.

Sunday's vote determines which party controls the National Assembly and who will be prime minister. If no party wins an absolute majority, forming a government comes only after extensive negotiations.

Starmer and Rayner waste no time in clearing out No 10

12:33 , Will Mata

A piano and a sofa were among items removed from Downing Street in the aftermath of Labour's General Election landslide.

Former prime minister Rishi Sunak and former chancellor Jeremy Hunt and their families lost their residences in No 10 and No 11 as Labour swept to power.

Sir Keir Starmer and Chancellor Rachel Reeves are the new occupants, although the moving process will take a few days.

On Saturday the Prime Minister said: "We're not unpacked quite yet, but we will be soon and we'll be moving in soon but there's a bit of work to do before then."

On Sunday, a bright yellow lorry from the Bishop's Move firm was parked around the back of Downing Street, with a steady flow of items being carried out of the famous street.

A mattress, a bright red sofa and an upright piano were carefully stowed in the back of the lorry by a team of workers.

Mr Sunak lived in the flat above No 10 while Mr Hunt had the larger flat above No 11.

Prime ministers in recent years had favoured the No 11 residence, but Mr Sunak had lived above No 10 as chancellor and moved back in with his family when he became the premier.

A yellow removal van was spotted at the back of Downing Street, with workers steadily loading it up with items (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
A yellow removal van was spotted at the back of Downing Street, with workers steadily loading it up with items (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Tories positioning themselves for leadership battle

11:47 , Will Mata

Leading contenders in the battle to replace Rishi Sunak and restore the Tories' fortunes have been making initial pitches to Conservatives for support.

Suella Braverman, Robert Jenrick and Victoria Atkins used a series of newspaper articles and interviews to say what they think went wrong for the Tories and how the party can turn itself around following its worst-ever election result.

Former home secretary Mrs Braverman said the party needed to take a tougher line on reducing immigration, claiming some Tories had treated voters like "mugs" and Mr Sunak had run an "idiotic strategy".

Ex-immigration minister Robert Jenrick said failing to reduce numbers coming to the UK was "our biggest and most damaging failure" and the former government "insulted the public with decisions that caused net migration to spiral to unprecedented levels".

And Ms Atkins said the country was still "instinctively Conservative" despite an election which resulted in the Tories returning just 121 MPs, the lowest in the party's history, with Labour winning a majority of 174.

Government rules out prospect of ID cards

11:40 , William Mata

The Government has ruled out the introduction of digital ID cards after former premier Sir Tony Blair called for the documents to help control migration.

Sir Tony, who championed ID cards when he was in office only for the idea to be killed off after Labour lost power, said the world was moving to a digital form of the document.

Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds initially said Home Secretary Yvette Cooper would look at "all sources of advice" on the issue.

Sources close to Ms Cooper said ID cards were not Labour policy and that has not changed, with Mr Reynolds later publicly ruling them out.

Toey Steve Baker celebrates freedom after losing seat

11:10 , William Mata

Tories need to be 'painfully honest' says former immigration minister

11:07 , Will Mata

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick said he was being "painfully honest" about what went wrong, adding the Tories "didn't have a good enough diagnosis of just how broken some of our public services were".

He told BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: "And we didn't have the willingness to take the tough decisions that were necessary to deliver for the British public; when we said, for example, on immigration that we would do whatever it takes, we didn't do whatever it takes."

Mr Jenrick suggested "migration was at the heart" of the defeat, adding: "Two-thirds of the constituencies that sadly we lost at the General Election, the majorities, the margin of defeat was less than the Reform vote - and that was the case in the north, the south, in Scotland, Wales, everywhere including, for example, in seats that we lost to the Liberal Democrats.”

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Archive)
Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Archive)

Alex Salmond voted SNP

11:06 , Will Mata

Alma Party leader Alex Salmond has revealed he voted for the SNP, the party he left and used to figurhead.

His new party did not field a candidate in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency, leaving him considering options.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross lost the seat to the SNP after criticism over his decision to stand in place of David Duguid who was receiving hospital treatment.

Mr Salmond, whose public dispute with his former party saw him form Alba, told LBC the SNP was aided by Mr Ross's "shenanigans".

Alba party leader Alex Salmond told LBC he voted SNP (Robert Perry/PA) (PA Archive)
Alba party leader Alex Salmond told LBC he voted SNP (Robert Perry/PA) (PA Archive)

Denyer: 'We'll push government to be bolder'

10:39 , Will Mata

The Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer has vowed to press Labour on environmental issues after her party won four seats in parliament.

Ms Denyer won Bristol Central for the first time and has committed to fighting for issues true to the party.

“We’ll be pushing the Labour government to be bolder on climate, on the housing crisis, or properly funding public services,” she told the Guardian.

“We’ll be using all of the levers that we have available as opposition MPs, whether that’s through ministerial questions, motions, amendments, the committees, and just moving the debate on.”

Green co-leader Carla Denyer (AP)
Green co-leader Carla Denyer (AP)

Video: Sir Keir Starmer chats to president Joe Biden on phone

10:31 , Will Mata

Ed Davey says proportional representation would lead to fairer system

10:29 , Will Mata

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the party has "long argued for electoral reform" as "our politics is broken", but added it "might mean that there'll be people who are elected who we don't agree with".

Asked on the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme if it was fair that Reform UK got many more votes than the Lib Dems but have ended up with far fewer seats, Sir Ed said: "Well, you know Laura that the Liberal Democrats have long argued for fair votes and long argued for electoral reform and proportional representation. We want to improve our democracy, our politics is broken and so we're going to continue to make that case.

"It might mean that there'll be people who are elected who we don't agree with but by the way, that's been the case in the first past the post, there are many people in the Conservative Party who seem to share the values and ideas of Reform, and they're already there."

Ed Davey was asked if it was fair that the Lib Dems won more seats than Reform (James Manning/PA Wire)
Ed Davey was asked if it was fair that the Lib Dems won more seats than Reform (James Manning/PA Wire)

Victoria Atkins does not rule out Tory leadership effort

09:55 , Will Mata

Former health secretary Victoria Atkins did not rule out standing in the Tory leadership race but said it was not yet time for candidates to launch their campaigns.

She told BBC One's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: "This weekend is not about leadership."

She added: "The absolute focus at the moment, and the reason I came on today, was genuinely not to talk about leadership because this is not the moment for this.

"We need to show the public that we understand they have sent us some very, very loud messages, that we are listening, that we are reflecting and then we as a party need to get together and unite and work out what we want for the future."

Victoria Atkins on BBC One's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire)
Victoria Atkins on BBC One's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire)

Jonathan Reynolds says 'job guarantees' part of negotiations with Tata

09:33 , Will Mata

Business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said "job guarantees" would be part of the negotiations between the Government and steel giant Tata about its Port Talbot site.

Tata has shut down one of two blast furnaces at its biggest plant under its plans to switch to a greener form of production. The second blast furnace is due to be shut down in September.

Mr Reynolds said "there is a better deal available for Port Talbot and the steel industry as a whole", telling BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: "I do want things in exchange for money we'll co-invest with the private sector around jobs and technology.

"I think that's a reasonable way to make sure public money is being well spent and I believe there are things, capacities, the steel industry needs in future that could be part of that conversation and that's what I'll be having in the next few days."

He added: "I'm going to make sure that job guarantees are part of the negotiation that we're having."

The business secretary (PA Wire)
The business secretary (PA Wire)

'Biggest challenge is unity' for Tories, says Zahawi

09:31 , Will Mata

Former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has said "the biggest challenge is unity" for the next leader of the Conservative Party following the General Election.

The former MP, who did not stand in the election, admitted the result for the Tories was "pretty catastrophic" but said the party still had "some serious talent" in Parliament.

Asked by Trevor Phillips on Sky News who he would like to see as the new party leader, Mr Zahawi said: "At this stage, I think the most important thing, whoever comes forward, is they come up with a plan of how to unite the party, (to) bring us back together.

"I think the biggest challenge for us is unity, and I think that the lesson - if we haven't learnt it yet then we really will be in trouble - is that we have to present a united front to the country.

"Rishi (Sunak) suffered badly in the campaign because there were voices from his own party coming out against (him)."

Mr Zahawi said the electorate had reacted with their votes after the Conservative Party had "formed a circular firing squad".

Nadhim Zahawi (PA Wire)
Nadhim Zahawi (PA Wire)

Labour urged to press forward with ban on smoking

09:05 , Will Mata

Labour must seize the opportunity to phase out smoking "with both hands", leading health experts have said as they called on the new Government to revive legislation designed to ban young people from ever being able to legally smoke.

More than 1,000 experts across the health sector have urged the Government to include the law "front and centre" when it announces its legislative programme in the King's Speech.

Former prime minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to crack down on smoking through his flagship Tobacco and Vapes Bill last year.

The Bill - dubbed the "greatest piece of public health legislation in a generation" - had earned wide cross-party support and was progressing through Parliament when the General Election was called.

Charities and health experts were dismayed when the Bill was shelved as a result.


What do the papers say?

09:02 , Will Mata

The Sunday Times has led with a story about how Tony Blair has told Sir Keir Starmer he needs a plan on immigration (Sunday Times)
The Sunday Times has led with a story about how Tony Blair has told Sir Keir Starmer he needs a plan on immigration (Sunday Times)
The Mail claims that Sir Keir Starmer will begin to change the British terms of the EU deal within weeks (Mail)
The Mail claims that Sir Keir Starmer will begin to change the British terms of the EU deal within weeks (Mail)
The Observer has splashed on Sir Keir Starmer's first Cabinet (Observer)
The Observer has splashed on Sir Keir Starmer's first Cabinet (Observer)
The Express has said that the Rwanda plan is 'dead and buried' (Express)
The Express has said that the Rwanda plan is 'dead and buried' (Express)

'Hugs and kisses on election night'

08:12 , Will Mata

Sir Keir Starmer’s friends and family “turned and hugged each other” shortly after the exit poll was read out on Thursday, his biographer has said.

Tom Baldwin wrote in the Guardian that he felt he was intruding on something “very personal” when it was announced he would likely take power.

“The man they were talking about wrapped both his arms around his wife to share an extravagant kiss. Then he reached out for his 13-year-old daughter. They embraced for a moment but he jolted into a tighter, protective grip as he realised it was all becoming too much.”

Sir Keir Starmer has said he tries to spend Friday evenings with his family (PA Wire)
Sir Keir Starmer has said he tries to spend Friday evenings with his family (PA Wire)

Modi also makes phone call to Sir Keir Starmer

08:05 , Will Mata

Sir Keir Starmer has also taken a call from Indian prime minister Narendra Modi who has offered the new PM a visit to his country.

Both men are said to have recommitted to their strategic partnership.

Biden congratulates Starmer on becoming PM

08:02 , Will Mata

Sir Keir Starmer has had his first phone call with Joe Biden as prime minister.

The US president congratulated the Labour leader while Sir Keir said he wished to continue the special relationship of the two nations - reports the Sun.

Mr Biden said: “There’s no doubt that under your leadership our two countries are going to continue our special relationship.

“We’re working together on just about every issue, supporting Ukraine, managing the competition with China, advancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific with Aukus.”

As a Labour leader Sir Keir is potentially ideologically closer to Mr Biden than his predecessor Rishi Sunak.

US president Joe Biden (via REUTERS)
US president Joe Biden (via REUTERS)

Sir Keir Starmer heads to Scotland on tour of UK

07:52 , Will Mata

The Prime Minister said he was seeking an "immediate reset" of the relationship between the Westminster Government and devolved nations as he embarks on a tour of all four corners of Britain.

Sir Keir Starmer insisted "respect" would be the key ingredient in the bond between the new UK administration and its Irish, Scottish and Welsh counterparts.

His first visit will be to Edinburgh on Sunday, where the PM will say he wants to "turn disagreement into co-operation" with the SNP north of the border.

"People across the United Kingdom are bound by shared beliefs. Fundamental values of respect, service and community which define us as a great nation," Sir Keir said.

"That begins today with an immediate reset of my Government's approach to working with the First and deputy First Ministers, because meaningful co-operation centred on respect will be key to delivering change across our United Kingdom.

"Together we can begin the work to rebuild our country with a resolute focus on serving working people once again."

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)